This story is actually called “Mary’s Child,” or “Our Lady’s Child,” usually, and it shows up in the Brothers Grimm. And it will be a miracle if I can get through this essay without using some seriously bad language (but I’ll try, because my grandparents read this blog), because I am bursting with anger today, and the Virgin Mary deserves all I have and more.
Not the real Mary. Just to clarify. Fairy tale Mary. Fairy tale Mary deserves more anger than I have to give. I'm cool with the real life mother of God. No issues there.
Okay. So first of all, you got this baby. This baby’s dad is all broke, like everyone in fairy tales, so one day when he’s out chopping wood, the Virgin Mary just appears all out of nowhere, like, hey man, you can’t afford to raise a kid. I’ll take her.
And this broke wood chopper dude, he’s like, yeah, okay. So the baby goes off with Mary to grow up in Heaven.
All good, yeah? Sounds fun.
Well, the crap is coming.
So the girl is like fourteen now, right? And Mary’s gotta go on a trip. She decides—hello, Bluebeard—to leave all the keys to Heaven with this kid. Except of course one of the keys opens a door the kid’s not allowed to open.
Now this raises a lot of questions. Like, why would you leave these incredibly important keys in the charge of not only a child, but a living, human child—i.e. the only person in Heaven likely to make big with the sin and all? Or, like, where on earth does Mary have to be? Dude, you’re dead. Take a load off. Jesus came, Jesus went, your work is done. Naptime. Or, like, where exactly is God in all this? Or why are there locked doors in Heaven? Why are actual physical locks even a thing? Like, can’t the power of the Lord keep the special doors closed? And, most importantly, why is God putting up with all the crap that Mary is about to pull over the next several years of this child’s life?
So. Kid has the keys. Kid is hanging out with her little angel pals, and they’re all curious. There some arguing about how that would be wrong, we shouldn’t do that, it’s a sin, but you’re dealing with a high school freshman who grew up surrounded by the Sinless, and she is way past due for some rebellion.
Newsflash, Mary: Kids mess up. They can’t all be like your first one. Jesus was a special case, Mary. This kid is normal, Mary. She may be fully human, Mary, but she sure ain’t fully God.
Door opens. Mary returns, and it becomes obvious that the door opened—kid’s finger turns gold or something. Kid tries to lie about it, so that doesn’t help. Golden fingers don’t lie, kid.
So Mary dumps this child back down on earth, and she takes her voice while she’s at it. Recap: Girl, fourteen years old. Experience with other flawed human beings, zero. Experience with the trials of real life, particularly the wilderness, zero. Voice, none.
And here she is, smack dab in the middle of a forest, a child, and her clothes are all ripped and she’s tired and she’s hungry and she’s scared. And suddenly, a king.
I mean, you know where it’s going from here, right? It’s not the first time. Big grown up king man marries the little girl with literally nothing, not even a voice to say no. And before you know it, she’s all knocked up.
And along comes Mary, in the middle of the night right after the baby is born, and she’s all like, hey, kid. You got a confession to make? Maybe one concerning a door you totally didn’t open?
And the kid says, “Nope.” (Her voice magically comes back so she can answer Mary's question.)
Okay. So, not the brightest. Not the most honest. She’s a stubborn girl. But, okay. She’s what, fifteen, now? And she can’t talk, and aside from the whole statutory rape thing, you really can’t say no to a king, especially when you have no voice. So I don’t think it’s all that much of a leap to assume this relationship was less than entirely consensual. And she’s a little girl, and she’s all alone in the world, and now she’s a mother. And she got kicked out of freaking Heaven. She has literally nothing left, and it’s all Mary’s fault.
And just thinking about it, I’m already all like screw you, Mary. So imagine how she’s feeling. I wouldn’t be about to admit defeat in the face of this crap either.
So Mary gets all pissed and takes away the newborn baby, and the next morning everyone’s saying that our girl ate her offspring.
But the king, he’s really into this whole child bride situation, so he decides to let the cannibalism slide just this once.
A year later, along comes baby number two. Mary shows up in the middle of the night, and she asks if the kid opened the door. And the kid is down a baby and the respect and trust of her people, on top of everything else. So she’s just like, “Screw you, Mary, I didn’t open your stupid door.”
Bye bye baby number two, hello continued rumors of cannibalistic infanticide.
Fortunately, the novelty of doing it with a little girl who can’t talk back has yet to wear off, so the king lets it go. Who needs babies for kids when you already got one for a wife?
Another year passes. Deceit and childbirth, take three. Mary asks, girl lies, baby goes away to Heaven to live with Grandma. And maybe a mute seventeen year old wife isn’t quite as fun as a sixteen year old, or fifteen, or fourteen, because finally, the king is like, “Okay, enough with the baby-eating. We gotta burn this chick at the stake.”
So apparently, the fire from the stake-burning melts the “hard ice of pride” around our girl, and she’s just thinking, like “Crap, I really wish I’d told Mary the truth.”
And BAM! The voice comes back, and she admits to God and everyone that she opened that stupid door when she was fourteen stupid years old.
The fire goes out, Mary descends from the heavens, returns the babies, and FORGIVES her. Girl makes one mistake when she’s young and stupid, and Mary torments her in every way imaginable for the next three years, and then MARY forgives HER.
It’s a problem.
So, in conclusion $#%@ you, Mary.